Friday, December 31, 2010

He's baa-a-a-a-ck!

Ron got to come home this afternoon. He has the constitution of a bull or something. He gets sick very quickly, but once he starts getting better he bounces right back. Tonight, you wouldn't think there had been anything out of the ordinary wrong with him.

He has a mild case of cirrhosis (from his mega list of medications) and the combination of the increased aluminum (from the kidney disease) and the ammonia (from the liver problems) made him pretty sick. Once they got those numbers down, he's much better.

Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes! We're going to spend a quiet evening in front of the television and the computer. Ron's watching the TV and I'm on the computer - I'll join him in a bit. I treated us to dinner from Spangles (a KS-based hamburger joint; good junk!). I'm getting ready to put on my winter jammies and get a blanket. I'd turn on our gas fireplace but I don't know how to light the pilot (grin). I turned it off in the summer so I didn't burn excess gas with keeping the pilot light on - and I didn't have to work so hard to cool the living room because of the warmth of the fireplace. Tonight, I am wishing that I was a bit more mechanically inclined and knew how to light the darn thing. Oh well - it will pass and tomorrow I may not care.

Happy New Year to you all!

Lost a follower :(

I was all excited to see that I had 35 followers. Guess someone didn't find me entertaining, after all. Today I have 34. {sigh} Oh well, can't please all of the people all of the time.

My sincere wish is for all of you to have a very joyous and safe New Year! Peace and blessings to you from Ron and I!

Teresa

Thursday, December 30, 2010

ANichols.Too

Anyone else having trouble reading her blog? All of a sudden when I try to click on her link, I'm getting the message that her blog is open only to invited readers.

It appears to not recognize my email address.

Thanks.

3 hours of sleep and I'm good to go

Of course, I did have to throw in some very strong coffee and a hot shower. I talked to Ron a bit ago and he sounds good. Said his ammonia level is dropping (yay for the lactulose). He was mistaken when he thought it was aluminum in the blood... it was the ammonia. That makes perfect sense since he has liver disease.

Speaking of disease, I need to update my list. The hospital had more on their list than I do so I need to find out what I'm missing. I'd say the count was at least 20 things, not 14 or 15 like I previously thought.

Thanks for all the prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes. You just can't even begin to know how much I appreciate all of you and how you keep me uplifted. God's blessing to all of you in the coming year! You all deserve to be blessed greatly.

I'll be back on here later today with (hopefully) an update.

t.

"Dog" and Beth Chapman

Ron and I watched "The Mercy Tour" last night while we were waiting for him to be moved to a room. It was very good. A lot of people give them bad press but they also do a lot of good for other people. I don't like their foul language when they are apprehending someone (especially with their prayers before and after), but when I'm in the thick of things my language isn't always what I'm proud of, either.

I would like to see Beth dress a bit less flashy but I think she would be a blast to go shopping with. LOL - maybe we could go together and she could get rid of some of my total "blah" when it comes to picking out clothes and I could help her pick tops that don't show quite as much of the girls. Hahahaha! I don't know how she walks in those shoes either but kudos to her for being able to.

Duane just cracks me up. I didn't realize he was as short as he is (even in his boots). I really think he must be a very nice man even though his choice of attire isn't something I much for. But, he does draw attention and if that's what he's shooting for - he's succeeding!

We DVR the episodes and watch them when we can't find anything else on TV that Ron wants to watch. We watch them while we're DVRing them, too. Ron doesn't remember most of the time that he's just seen the episode and it doesn't bother me to re-watch them.

Too bad they're not coming to our neck of the woods. I'd go get an autographed book for Ron. Not like he could read it, but he'd have it. Wouldn't that be fun?

He's been admitted

It's 4:30 AM and we are in a room. Private... Compliments of possible Hep C. Thank you blood-borne disorders for providing us with a private room!

The ER doctor mentioned a condition called Hepatic Encephalopathy since his ammonia levels are so elevated (and higher today than they were yesterday). I can see where some of the symptoms are definitely things that could be things that Ron is exhibiting. Other things... not so sure. I wonder how his apparently healthy liver (as recently as February 2010) could become this diseased so quickly. They took a bucket of blood in the ER and his nurse just said they'll be in about 5:30 AM to draw more blood.

One of the treatment options for HE is a lactulose (cellulose laxative), which would (or could) increase the possibility of diarrhea. Not a good thing for a peg-legger to have. The signs and symptoms section of this Wiki article I found sounds remarkably like Ron..."The mildest form of hepatic encephalopathy is difficult to detect clinically, but may be demonstrated on neuropsychological testing. It is experienced as forgetfulness, mild confusion and irritability. More severe encephalopathy is characterised by an inverted sleep-wake pattern (sleeping by day, being awake at night), marked irritability, tremor, difficulties with coordination and trouble writing." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatic_encephalopathy) Ron definitely has some (most) of the mild symptoms and also the more severe. His wake/sleep pattern has been inverted for quite some time. The coordination, tremor, and writing difficulties could also be Parkinsons. Tough call.

I will be off work again today (lovely - 2nd day this week without pay) but since it's only 3 hours until I'm supposed to BE at work, I don't think I can make it.

Surprisingly, I am very calm. I don't know why exactly but I am.

Well... a hospital trip was not in my plans tonight

Ron fell twice tonight. Second time I called for an ambulance. Posting from my phone. They will probably keep him overnight for observation.

That could be a blessing in disguise. Will be making some calls tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FML

I kept seeing those letters on the status of several of my Facebook contacts. I finally asked my sister what it meant and it very plainly means "F" my life. Hmmmm.... didn't think I'd really need it but I found myself using my own variation of the theme tonight. S-M-L... SCREW my life.  hehehehe!

Back to the issue I hinted about in my earlier post. I may wander around getting there, but I will.

Ron went to see the hematologist on Monday and had blood drawn for his kidney doctor. Yesterday, he had additional blood drawn for the hematologist. Today, the nurse from his kidney doctor called and said that the aluminum level (in his blood) was over 70 (he told me two different numbers so not sure which one is correct - I will be calling them tomorrow) and the normal is less than 5.41. In order to be considered "toxic" it would have to be over 100, but I'm thinking in the 70s is pretty darn close. They will retest his blood in a month to see if it's still up above normal, and how high above normal.

Aluminum toxicity can cause a number of things, such as mental confusion, weakness, gastro-intestinal disturbances, etc. I have named these three because these seem to be what's increasing in Ron... He is much more confused (and denies the confusion), he's very weak, and he's had some serious gastro-intestinal issues lately. I bought disposable undergarments tonight.

He came over to me and held his right arm up in the air with a fist, and his left arm down about 18 inches with his palm open. He asked if this (the fist) was the end of my rope and that (the open palm) where I was. I said that was pretty close. He wanted to know if I'd given up on him. I haven't, but I said that I had nothing left to give - it wasn't a matter of giving up; there was nothing left.

There have been a lot of tears shed today - by him and by me. We both know that it's time for him to move on to someplace where he can get the care he needs. Today he ate the protein shake I made him this morning, 4 pieces of cheese, and 8 pieces of candy. When I talked to him (again) about eating FOOD he said that he wasn't hungry. This I know - he doesn't get hungry. I told him he had to eat at scheduled times and that we've discussed it before. He has no recollection of our previous discussions.

I don't really think he has aluminum toxicity since he's had these symptoms for quite a while. His aluminum levels last time they were tested were within normal limits or we would have heard about it before now. So, just not sure what is up with this.

I do know that I need to figure out what kind of attorney I need to contact to see about getting this ball rolling. Keith and I discussed moving him as quickly as possible and then me doing what needs to be done to get rid of the house. Paying for this out of our pocket means only one thing for us... Bankruptcy and foreclosure. Not pretty words, but I'm to the point where I realize they are going to happen. I will lose my car as well. Taking his income plus part of mine and putting it in assisted living means that I'll have less than $1300 per month for my entire living expenses. This amount will not include a vehicle payment.

So, I think the FML is really more accurate than SML is.

Don't you?

Schowalter Villa

Schowalter Villa Retirement Community is a not-for-profit, Christian-based community that has been owned and operated since 1961 by the Mennonite Board of Missions & Charities of Kansas, Inc. It is a Continuing Care Retirement Community that provides a full range of care from Independent Living to Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Complete Nursing Care. They also have income-based rent in one of the sections (Independent Living) that is subsidized by HUD.

The locations are:

Arbor Vista (the oldest buildings) and are “cottages” (duplexes) are near the assisted living and health care center. They have various sizes but the bathroom access is “difficult” at best.

Hickory Homes is the HUD subsidized one bedroom duplexes and one bedroom apartments. The bathroom access is better but the rooms are quite small.

Lakeside Village is the “high rise” in the neighborhood and offer 1 and 2 bedroom apartments that either overlooks the lake (for a higher price) or the parking lot. They are close to the Water’s Edge restaurant the wellness center.

Lake Vista is the newest addition and are duplexes and fourplexes with up to three bedrooms and 2-car garages. They have a variety of floor plans and special features.

I am not interested in Lakeside Village at all. Ron would not be able to let Maisey out to potty and he can’t take her for a walk. Plus, I’m just not “into” living in an apartment building.

Hickory Homes could be an option, but they are only 1 bedroom, no carport (which would be difficult to load and unload Ron in bad weather), and the rooms are very small. Our bed would fill the bedroom and block the closet. But, Ron could access the bathroom easier. Not so with the kitchen (small, galley-style). Plus, no W/D hookups at all. Would have to use the on-site laundry facilities for $2-3 per load.

Arbor Vista has the least expensive option available (I’ll share fees and prices later). They were built first so they are NOT ADA compliant. They also are not designed in any way to make them ADA compliant. They do have some nice features (beamed, vaulted ceiling, carport, patio, some storage, appliances, etc.)

Lake Vista is the best, but it’s also the most expensive. The rooms are bigger and they were built to be ADA compliant and totally wheelchair accessible. They vary in size from 1112 sq ft to 1600 sq ft. They also include many amenities such as all appliances, 2 or 3 car garages (not carport), plenty of storage, patio, ceiling fans, and they are very well laid-out.

Fees and Prices:

Arbor Vista: These are the only ones that offer a month-to-month option without an entrance fee or 12-months advance rental payment. But, this is only available on the one bedroom duplex. The 1br rents for $550 per month and does not have a maintenance fee. It’s strictly month-to-month. The problem is the size; it is about 700 square feet and we’d have to sell or store most of our stuff. The kitchen is pretty accessible and getting into the bedroom would be OK. The bathroom would be tricky (at best) and the tub nearly impossible. I could possibly get him in the door with the transfer wheelchair (forgot to check that out) but I don’t think he could do it by himself.

The 2br rents for $750 plus $439 maintenance fee. It would require a $3450 upfront payment (due at contract signing), but if and when we transferred to the “permanent” duplex, we would not have to re-pay it. It has 960 square feet. They usually require the 12 months of rent in advance but she said they may be able to waive that requirement since we’re shooting for moving to the other place. If you pay 12 months in advance, then you’d only pay the maintenance fee each month for the first 12 months and then go month-to-month after that (rent + maintenance fee).

Each section has four options for living there. Option A gives you a fixed 75% refund on your “up front” money when you move, Option B gives you 85% refund, less 5% annually (down to 50%), Option C gives you 90% refund, less 10% annually (with no downward limit), and Option D is strictly rent. Each option also involves a monthly “HOA” fee (they call service fee) and this is $439 per month. All but Option D also has an entrance fee of $3450 (2-3 bedrooms) or $2450 (1 bedroom). The up-front amount varies from a low of $35,950 (1-br duplex – Option D) to $97,950 (2-BR, 2BA – Option A).

Ron did think he could get into the bathroom with his leg and walker. Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m thinking we may need to get a bedside commode for him and I’ll just have to get over myself and take care of it. He’s having incontinence problems so it may be a moot point anyway if he needs to go into Depends. He can (hopefully) change them during the day if he has a problem. Not sure about that, either. If he has trouble standing long enough to remove soiled clothing, I don’t see him being able to stand long enough to remove a soiled undergarment.

Lake Vista: These are my favorite (of course) and the most accessible as far as Ron is concerned. They are beautiful, have fully equipped kitchens, and laundry area in the hallway (behind closet doors). The kitchen is accessible for Ron and the rooms are big enough for him to get around in. Major drawback… Have to pay 12 months’ rent in advance, plus the $3450 entrance fee. (If we paid that fee for Arbor Vista we would not have to re-pay it if we moved to Lake Vista.) They range in size from 1112 square feet in a 2-BR, 2BA fourplex to 1600 square feet in a 3BR duplex. Their options are the same as far as refund percentages. The amount of money needed to move in there would be $19,000 ($1350 * 12 + $3450). Last time I checked, I didn’t have that much money laying around here so that isn’t really a possibility (unless someone wins the lottery or Mega Millions and buys me into the place – or someone like Oprah or Ellen – hahaha – jumps in and takes care of it). The duplex is more accessible than the rooms in the fourplex (according to the marketing director). The up-front money for these go from a “low” of $107,950 (2 BR fourplex) to a high of $179,950 ( 3 BR duplex, sunroom, 2-car garage). As much as it would be nice to have a 3-BR with 2-car garage (which would be about the same square footage as what we have now), it’s not necessary. I’d just like the extra space for visitors and such. Plus, I don’t have the money to move in there anyway – in any way, shape, or form.

If I had to move him to assisted living, they have various room sizes and the cost is from $88 per day to $109 per day. They have a single room, a larger room, 2 rooms, and a 2 room suite. On top of that, add nursing care from $25 per day (level 1) to $53 per day (level 5). At the cheapest level, that is over $3,000 per month ($3390 on a 30-day month; less for February and more for 31-day months) that we would have to pay for. At that point, I would not be able to afford to live anywhere except a one-bedroom (if I was lucky and still had a job). (After today – which will be another post – that possibility is more of a probability, and soon…)

I was looking at getting him a hospital bed that would raise up and down but they are pricey and I’m not sure what I’d do with our King-size bed (I would then sleep on the sofa or an air mattress).

I honestly don’t know what to do. If I even think about it I start crying and can’t very well sit here bawling all day. Doesn’t look good for me.
Someone – please figure my life out for me and tell me what to do…..

Thisisme...

I wasn't sure how I'd get my 3rd consecutive post in that referenced my friend on the other side of the pond, so I decded I'd dedicate an ENTIRE post to her.

Thisisme

Thisisme

Thisisme

Except, I'm not sure what to write, except she's got some darling grandchildren. She lives someplace I'd really like to visit. Her daughter lives somewhere else I'd like to visit (France). Her blog is always interesting and I'm very glad that I found her.

(how's that???)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I was angry this morning...

Until I discovered that Thisisme (2 of 3 consecutive references) had given me an award. That was terribly sweet of her. (I still need to pass on the Honest Scrap award to my recipients but I've been a bit remiss).

I tossed and turned most of the night. I am an emotional eater and this past month has blessed me with about 8 pounds of previously lost weight returning. That is not good. I really worked too hard to get rid of the "fluff" and I certainly don't need or want it back. So, back to the drawing board for me.

I found out yesterday that Ron's oldest son (who famously said on July 4th that "things would be different now" that he was divorced and that he'd be over more to see his dad) was at Ron's ex-wife's house with his three kids for Christmas. That's not so bad in of itself, but the ex-wife lives less than one mile from here - yes, LESS THAN one mile - and not only did Tim not come over to see his dad, he didn't even call him. In fact, Tim hasn't called his dad but one time (to return a call that Ron made to him) since his leg amputation on July 12 (he's never once called me to see how he did, how he was doing, or anything; his response when I sent him a text to say Ron was having emergency surgery was "OK" and nothing further from him). I am very angry at Tim and very hurt for Ron. Tim is cheating his children out of having any type of relationship with Ron and robbing them of memories they may be able to create. It's very sad and the rest of the family just makes excuses for him. "He can't stand to see Dad like this." "He's just bracing himself for when Dad is no longer with us." Pardon my language, but bullshit. BULLSHIT! I posted a note on Tim's Faceboook page. He's not online too much but I know that his friends will see it. I'm nearly 100% sure that it won't change things but at least I got it off my chest and if he deletes me then it will just show more of his true character.

Outside of "MY" children, only one of his other children called him for Christmas. His son, Aaron, called in the afternoon to wish him Merry Christmas and ask when would be good for him to come over. Since we had a full house (and I'd misplaced his Walmart gift card) we asked him to wait until last night. His daughter (who was also at her mom's house) sent him a text message. Really? That's all you could muster was a text message? I knew they weren't coming over until this Thursday (when Rex, Amy, and Isaiah would be here) but I figured she'd do more than a text message on Christmas Day. She does much more than her brother so for that, I am grateful and thankful. I love my step-children very much but I do get upset with them. I sometimes feel like I can't really say anything to them though, since I'm not their biological mother. But, I've been their "other mother" for over 26 years so I'm a bit more free with my words than maybe they think I should be.

He says it's what he deserves for being an absentee father (we got them when they wanted to come; never forced them to come visit if they didn't want to or if they had things to do with friends) but I say - again - BULLSHIT. He wasn't mean to them, he didn't beat them, he didn't ignore them on their birthdays or for other holidays. He deserves to be treated with love and respect and should not have to beg his children and grandchildren to come see him or to call him.

The prospect of moving does not excite me. Not because I have any emotional attachment to this house but we did invest his retirement money into it thinking it would be our 'retirement' home and we'd not have to move again. WRONG!!!  It's the packing and the sorting that I'm dreading. If I could move Ron and the stuff that I know we'll use to a new place and have the time to sort and purge here, that would be better. But the thought of being forced to decide between this and that in a moment's notice - and try to work all day in addition to the other stuff - is wearing me down. During the day I can't face what I'm supposed to do and during the night I can't shut off my mind. Drugs and alcohol seem very enticing; they have the ability to numb the mind but it's only a short-term fix for a long-term problem. But, I can see why some people would choose to self-medicate with these items. It's just not the answer that they need.

I have several lots of items that I know I'll have to put into storage. The smaller place we're looking at will not be big enough for Ron to maneuver about in his Jazzy unless I put just the bare necessities there. That means the bed, his dresser, and his nightstand in the bedroom. His lift chair, the love seat, and my dresser (as a TV stand) in the living room. My table/chairs would go to Amy's house and I'd take hers (much smaller). The hutch/china cabinet would go into storage, as would the glass display cabinet and all of my crystal pretties that my kids have gotten me over the years. My books and scrapbooking supplies would go to storage. I'd keep out just enough to work on stuff at the kitchen table and put some at Amy's house for easy access. We have really pared down in the past couple of years but there is still more stuff than what we need. Kitchen stuff will just need to go to storage except for the microwave, a few dishes, and a few pots/pans. I'll need to keep out Ron's grill so he can fix his frozen pizzas. And, I'll definitely need to keep my coffee pot out. Gotta have the coffee!!!

Coffee table and end table - sell
Computer and printer - sell
My end table - storage
Sofa - storage
Ron's tool cabinet - Rex and Amy, storage, or sell
Fridge - sell
Washer/Dryer and pedestals - sell (appliances are provided)
Folding tables for scrapbooking - storage
Scrapbook hutch - storage or sell; not sure yet
Power tools - sell
Household misc - mostly sell

Lots to think about and lots to do between now and then. Not sure when "then" is going to happen but it's definitely out there in the sooner-than-later future.

Only time will tell...

Well, that's a surprise!

While I was busy replying to Thisisme's (1 of 3 consecutive references) gift of the Petey award, I discovered that I got ANOTHER follower! Thank you for joining my sometimes "less-than-humble" blog.

Wow! I'm blown away

I was blog-hopping through my most favoritest (if that's not a real word, too bad - it is now...) blogs and noticed the headline from Thisisme over at Southhamsdarling.  Seems that she had gained two followers overnight and since I gained one (thank you to my newest follower {I've gained a couple recently so thank you to you all}), I decided I needed to go out of my usual routine and read her post next.

Imagine MY surprise when I finished reading it to find that SHE had passed Petey, the Pet Rock award, over to me. Wow! I was (and still am) quite blown away! She posted that I'm dealing with some challenges right now (so true, so true) and that I am coping the best that I can (again, so true). Some of my other blogger friends are also on her friend list and said I was deserving. Wow again!!!

I had a good laugh as I was reading the rules, which were written by a man (Bruce, at JADIP, justanotherdayinparadise.blogspot.com) and I'll repeat them here so my recipient knows what to do.

The rules...
  • You can only give it to one Blogger in Arms (BIA)
  • You must recognize the Blogger who gave it to you in at least 3 consecutive blog posts
  • You can take up to 3 weeks to pass on the award, but not more than 3 weeks
  • The recipient of the award must not have any more than 100 BIAs (followers
  • You must update the list of names of previous recipients with your own name before passing it on (see below)
  • You should give at least 3 reasons why you think your recipient deserves this award
  • You can choose to NOT accept this award, but (apparently) if you do, the Bruce will come after you
Let's try to stick to these rules please, as, after all, the whole point of the award is to get our blogs noticed and to gain new followers (friends).

Here is the Winner's Circle thus far:

Becca at http://mylife.blogspot.com/
Mynx at http://just-tish.blogspot.com/
Bouncin'Barb at http://bouncinbarbs.blogspot.com/
Thisisme at http://southhamsdarlig.blogspot.com/
Teresa at http://themiddlesideoflife.blogspot.com/

The nice part about blog hopping is that you get to "meet" so many new friends who are also friends on other blogs that you might read. I know that I've met many of my online friends by finding them on other blogs. I have had my life enriched by everyone who has stopped by to visit and those of you who have stuck around for the long haul. I thank you - each and every one of you for being my friend.

Now, after much deliberation this morning, I think I must pass this award onto Skippy over at I Make Soap.
I could list the same reasons for choosing her that This used for choosing me, but I'll try to be original and come up with my own.

  1. I thoroughly enjoy reading her blog and it's one of the ones I look for everyday to see if there's an update (not quite "original" but I did add to it... LOL!)
  2. She writes from the heart
  3. She faces the curve balls that life has thrown her with grace, dignity, and humor. Even when she's "down" she is never quite "out" and that is something that I greatly admire. Whenever I feel like whining and crying (which seems to be often these days), I try to remember that there are other people in this world who handle their challenges in a much more dignified way.

There you go, Skippy! I hope that your award will put a smile on your face today!

Monday, December 27, 2010

All I ever wanted to know about...

Hepatitis C and was afraid to ask...

Further blood work should confirm what the doctor suspects (he thought Ron had Hep C two years ago when he saw him in July 2010) and unless it's "chronic" then we'll just play the waiting game and see. Ron did have an ultrasound of his liver in February, which was clear. So, it doesn't appear that he's sustained any liver damage (up to that point, at least). But, that has been almost a full year ago (hard to imagine that 2010 is nearly over).

I just don't know what to do any more. I think we're going to move into a retirement village. He's not certain he wants to do that (wants to stay closer to his doctors) but since I'm the person driving, it really isn't an issue for me. I want to be somewhere that I don't have to worry about the house maintenance, the yard, watering the lawn, snow/ice removal, etc. I don't know for sure; we'll have to lay out all the pros and cons of moving. I just know that I cannot continue on this path without relief. If not, then I don't have a clue about anything.

Not like I had a clue anyway, but I'm really clueless now.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

Go away for a few days, and what do I come back to??? An AWARD! Catepillar over at Musings and Confessions of a Wandering Mind awarded me with the Honest Scrap award. That was so sweet of her!


It's so nice that she thought my blog was worthy of receiving the award. I'm supposed to share five random things about myself and share the award with five other worthy bloggers. I am not sure what unknown five things I can come up with, but I'll give it a whirl.

1. I love Christmas. I've always enjoyed doing Christmas for my family and I plan all year how to make it special for them. I listen to them say stuff about what they like and wish they had - and then I try to make at least part of it happen. It gives me great joy.
2. I'm a day-dreamer. I deal with stress by dreaming about different ways out. Sometimes, it's a real person who helps me out, other times it's a way out that couldn't really happen if left up to me, and other times, it's just ... hard to explain. I don't want to sound like a dork, but sometimes I can't help but think maybe I'll win some contest that I've entered, or some other random (good) thing will come about and then things that I need help with will be taken care of.
3. My favorite color is pink. That is self-explanatory. You can never go wrong with pink.
4. I love to read. I can read upside down so if there is something typed or open on someone's desk, I can read it without even trying.
5. I'm a girly-girl. I can't stand to get dirty but I'm not "high maintenance" (I don't wear makeup except on the very rare, special occasion)

Five worthy bloggers... I know so many but I don't want to duplicate if they've already received it (especially recently from someone) so I will take a day or so to find them.

Hello and Thank you

I wanted to say "Hi" and thank you for reading to my newest followers. So glad you took the time to stop by and become a follower! I appreciate it.

Also - thank you to ALL of my followers for taking the time to join me, follow, comment, and be my friend. I really appreciate it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Are there really such things as miracles?

I used to think so. In fact, I believed that I had been the recipient of more than one. Now, I'm not so sure. I think that miracles still exist, but they're just reserved for very special people.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Big. Small. Major. Minor.

Thing is, some people don't see the miracles that happen every single day around them. I can't say that I see everyday miracles. In fact, I'm one who often overlooks the everyday, ordinary, mundane pieces of life that are, in of themselves, miracles in their own right.

Does this sound contradictory? I don't think I mean for it to. Or, maybe I do... I'm not sure.

I'm not too sure about anything these days.

Except that real miracles are reserved for others.

Not me.

Not us.

Not today, not tomorrow, or even next week.

The sooner I wake up and get my head out of the clouds and out of the "wishing" for and "hoping" for and "praying" for realm and start facing reality the better off I'll be.

I guess. I don't have to like it but I do have to accept it.

Yay for me.

Our mortgage holder sent my 1/2 payment back. I'm not quite sure how to handle that except hold onto it and add the other 1/2 to it next week. That will make us still one month behind. They really don't act like they want to work with us on it so I'm not sure what our next step will be. Lovely, just lovely. Merry flippinchristmas to us.

I'll have a better attitude tomorrow. I promise. Today - I just am out of ideas. I'll sleep on it and have a better outlook tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Faith's Journals

Faith came over today to try and finish up her Christmas present journals. We ended up doing 10 of them and I "made" her do most of the work after I showed her how to streamline her process. I'm quite proud of her efforts and how well she did. I showed her how she could pick the coordinating papers for all of them at once, then cut all of the papers. This saved her quite a bit of time. Then she glued on all of the outside covers and we picked out ribbon for the trim. After the ribbon was added, she glued on the inside covers and passed them on to me for the final touches... The "bling." She didn't think she could do the accents well enough so I picked most of the stuff, ran it by her for approval, and then glued it on. One of the butterflies got bumped out of line, but I think it's OK. Adds character. Right?

See what you think:



I think her friends will be quite pleased. I had to laugh, though... She said she liked them so much that she almost couldn't bear to part with them. She now has about 15 of them made so I'm sure she'll be able to keep one or two for herself.

16... (now 17)

That’s the number of health conditions that Ron has (that I can count). It doesn’t include the potential “newest” conditions. His blood work indicates he has a problem with either his bone marrow or his liver. Waiting on a referral to a hematologist to find out which one has the problem, and how they’re going to address it.

I may actually be forgetting something, but here is the list off the top of my head:

Diabetes
Diabetic Retinopathy
Pulmonary Hypertension
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Coronary Artery Disease
Vascular Dementia
Chronic Kidney Disease
Congestive Heart Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (he never smoked)
Pacemaker
Right b/k amputation
Left transmetatarsal amputation
Peripheral neuropathy
High blood pressure
Tardive Dyskenisia
C2-C7 fusion
Arthritis (hands, knees, and shoulders)

I could also include the fact that he’s got right median and ulnar nerve problems but because he’s already got many other problems, a decompression surgery would probably not help him. He's also having hearing issues so we'll be seeing someone for that (updated 2/15/11).

He takes multiple medications:

Insulin (two types; one 3x daily and one 2x daily – large doses of each)
Alprazolam
Amlodipine
Aricept
Benazepril (update: 2/15/11 - this has been discontinued)
Clonazepam
Cymbalta
Doxazosin
Flomax
Miralax
Percocet
Simvastatin
Torsemide
Levothyroxine
Vitamin D
Calcium
Vitamin C
Benadryl
Aspirin (although this is on hold right now since his platelet count is down)
Fentanyl patches (175 mcg every three days)
Fexofenadine (generic for Allegra)

All told, he has a pretty good attitude - much better than mine sometimes.

I am going to find good things this weekend! Our granddaughter is coming over to work on her journals and cards. That will be nice. Amy, Isaiah, and I are going to go visit my mom on Wednesday. That will be nice. My sister, her daughter, and grandsons may come to our house for Christmas dinner. That will be nice. I will ship the last of my packages (and one of Amy's) today. That will be nice. I will buy the last of my Christmas gifts this weekend. That will be nice.

I will get my Christmas cards done this weekend. That, for sure, will be nice! Mailed and/or delivered on Monday. That will be nice!

I get to take my last two days of PTO on 12/22 and 12/27. That will be REALLY nice!

We will get through this, as well. That will also be nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Off to the kidney doctor tomorrow and ramblings

And, it can't be a moment too soon. Ron's feeling very bad and says he thinks he's retaining water. That's never a good sign.

I came home tonight to discover that he'd had an "accident" and had clothes in the sink for me to wash. Sanitize is more like it. He tries, I know he does - but there are still a few things that I really have trouble with. That is one of them. {sigh} He had to call his other son and get him out of bed (this afternoon) to come over and help him get a shower. You know it was bad if he attempted a shower on his own.

He asked me today what kind of "place" are those assisted living places. I think he knows that he's close to needing one. He wants me to get Glucerna and just leave it by his chair so he can have shakes during the day while I am at work. Fixing himself something - anything - has become more of a chore than he thinks he can handle. He's got a microwave within reach and a George Foreman grill within reach, but he said he is having trouble even opening the cardboard boxes that frozen items are in and the things I leave for him to heat up are just as hard to get out of the containers.

I really wish that there was something else I could do for him but at this point, I really think I'm just burned out. I feel myself shutting down when he says how bad he feels and I think it's because I know that I can't do anything about it and I just shut it out of my mind.

That's how I've done a lot of things these past few months. I don't want to whine about finances, but finances are BAD BAD BAD. We are behind one full house payment and I've only paid 1/2 of December's payment. There has just been too much going on and it has snowballed and compounded to right now. If it was just me I wouldn't care one bit about starting over. I don't want to, but I could do it. If I had a bed, TV, computer, and a place to work on my cards and stuff I'd be fine. But, I've got to think of Ron and his needs. I have to have a place that is wheelchair accessible. I have to have a place where he can get to the toilet. I have no choice. Renting a place like that is hard to do. If I have to move us, I will. I'd rather not do it in the dead of winter but if I have to, that's what I'll do.

I just keep tossing things back and forth and can't come up with any good answers. I know that God has a plan for us and I have to keep searching for it. I say this out loud to convince myself almost as much as to convince those around me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maybe, a bit of progress?

Rex and Amy came down last night (we're about an hour away) to fix Ron's toilet. It's such a blessing to have a son-in-law who not only CAN do work like that, but is also willing to do it. Even working with a "clean" toilet, you still have some one else's toilet that you're sticking your hands into. Yuck...

Ron put his leg on yesterday and left it on for about 4 hours. He walked in the house quite a bit with his walker, which was really great. His left knee is the main problem, even though the fake leg still rubs a bit it's much more comfortable than his other knee. He's got the leg on again today but he's had to take several pain pills already this morning. That's really not good but it's the only way he can function.

We got his blood work yesterday (he sees the kidney specialist on Thursday) and most of the key things are out of the normal range. His white blood count, red blood count, platelets, and hematocrit are all lower than normal. His vitamin D is good (first time in several rounds of blood work). His creatinin is barely within normal, but his potassium is a bit high. His BUN/creatinin ratio is too high. Not sure what all of this means in the grand scheme of things or what Dr. Moussa will say, but we'll see.

I'm trying to just stay even and not get too excited over his use of the leg or too worried about the blood work results. He can change so quickly and go from bad to worse in just a manner of hours. So we just have to see how things progress and take it a day at a time.

It's so great to have a place where I can come and unload and not be worried that I'm going to stress someone else out or make someone uncomfortable with what I say. I have to keep a smile on my face where the world can see and where my co-workers can see, so it's nice to be able to express my fears and my concerns here. Even if you all think I'm batty, none of you have ever made me feel like I shouldn't say what I say. That's big. And, I appreciate it.

I wish you all the best of wishes as we head into the holiday season and into the new year. Best of health and the best of what life has to offer. May you all prosper in health and wealth. God bless you all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 12: How you found out about blogger and why you made one...

I decided I needed to get back to the 30-day thing.

I found out about blogger from a co-worker, who just happens to be the father of an adorable set of triplet girls. You can read all about them here. I suggest going back to his early posts in 2007 to read about his girls. They will be 4 in February and they have overcome many, many challenges. The smallest of the three, Lily, weighed in at 1 pound 1 ounce; the other two weighed in at 2 pounds 9 ounces each.

I started my blog on January 14, 2008. I don't remember exactly what I thought I was going to do with it, but it quickly became a place to write about Ron's health and my growing frustration and inability to cope with things. I think I included stuff about Isaiah on my main blog until December 1, 2008 when I switched all of his stuff over to his own blog. The place to start with Isaiah's blog though is the December 1st posting entitled Isaiah's "I's" (eyes). When I copied the stuff over to the new blog, the order it posted wasn't actually the order that I'd written the topics in on the original blog.

About the time I created Isaiah's blog, I decided to add another blog to my stuff to post my cards and paper crafts on. I didn't want to clog up the main blog with "stuff" that wasn't pertinent to anything except paper. I don't like the blogger name but I don't want to change it either, so I just changed the title of it.

I have two other blogs - one is totally private between me and God and the other one is my weight-loss (or attempts thereof) blog. I haven't update the weight-loss blog in about 2 months. I also don't have anything to say there. LOL - I haven't lost any more weight unless you count the same 5-7 pounds I've lost and regained for the last 12 months or so.

So, in a round-about-nutshell - there you have it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today was going to be...

A great, uplifting, positive post.

Then I got out of bed. LOL!

The toilet (the only one Ron can get to) has been knocked off of it's ring by some old dude who can't seem to drive his wheelchair straight. Oh, that would be Ron. I know that he doesn't mean to run into things and that it's the tremors that sometimes hit the joystick at the wrong time. He even keeps the speed turned down pretty far so he'll have less chance of doing damage. But, I have doors without trim (now), a refrigerator with dents, cabinets missing chunks, etc. - all because of Parkinson's tremors. It's not like he can get up and walk so we do what we can.

This morning, he told me that the toilet was leaking out under the base. Oh yeah, that's how I wanted to start my morning. I don't have the money (really) to hire a plumber so I've been reduced to begging my poor son-in-law to help us out. He's got a fence he's trying to get put in at their house before it gets too cold to do it, but something about Ron not being able to get into a bathroom has him willing to put his needs on hold to take care of ours. What a blessing he is to our family! My brother who lives in Topeka is a plumber, but his wife told me that he's just too busy to come down and help. I would have paid him but it's not happening.

Keith says I've been angry this week. I think he's right. The PTO issue at work has more than one person (not counting me) upset. It's felt that the balance of "who" gets off at the holiday has been unfairly leveraged in one direction and others are being told to not count on the days off because there is work to be done. If there's work to be done, it really should be spread out among everyone and not look like one person doesn't have to participate. I'm trying to not let it bother me, especially since Christmas will be spent at home without family members but I'd still like to take the time off. We can't carry our unused time forward to the next year so it's either a "use it or lose it" situation for many. The sad part is if management won't let it be used.

I've been angry, too over Ron's situation. His left knee is beyond painful and he is having trouble even transferring. I tried to help in in the bed the other night and all I did was hurt my back. He is too heavy for me to manhandle around. He said he wants to have aggressive treatment done to his knee but I think that will just make things worse. Then, he said he'd just go ahead and have it amputated too. I said that would really make my life so much easier and guarantee that he'd never walk again. I said if he didn't figure out something that he was going to end up in a nursing home. He said, "Don't say stuff like that to me." I said that I wasn't trying to be mean about it, but I just couldn't do this much longer. He's getting weaker and less able to do things for himself and I'm not getting any younger. I have people my age retiring or planning their retirement. I'll be working until one of us is hauled away in a box.

He doesn't sleep well at night, so I don't either. Difference is, he can take a nap during the day if he's really tired or feeling bad. I don't think my management would think too highly of me taking a nap during the day. There are definitely days when I miss having a spare bed in a spare bedroom where I could retreat to if I needed to sleep. He can't get up in the night without a light. Just to go to the bathroom and get back to bed is at minimum 15 minutes and sometimes up to 30 minutes. Try that a couple of times a night and you're not very nice the next day.

Ron said I've acted like I think all of this is his fault. {sigh} I don't, but I do know that at least part of his physical problems are a direct result of what he did five, ten, and twenty years ago. All the years when I tried to help him with his diet and have him eat what was good for him. That would work for a while at home but then he'd order large pizzas at work, or eat 2-3 Butterfingers, or stop for food at McDonald's and then come home and eat a meal, too. The other day we came home and he'd eaten an entire container of Cool Whip - straight from the freezer. When I expressed my dismay, he said it wasn't full. It was only missing two tablespoons! He said, "Well, you didn't get me any cookies so I ate that." I didn't get him cookies because he opens the bag and eats the whole bag. They're $3.00 per bag. I don't spend $3.00 a day on me at work (I rarely have a week where I spend any money at all) so I didn't really feel like we could afford 4-5 bags of cookies that he'd have eaten in a week or less. Keith went to the store for me and he got him Quakers rice cakes in a variety of flavors. Ron's not interested in those.

So, tonight I get home from work to discover that he's had two cans of fruit - all day - and two bags of the rice cakes. I get so frustrated with what he doesn't do as much as with what he does do. I don't know how to fix the problems if I'm the only one putting out the effort. He's in bed now (8:14 PM) because he's tired. I still have trash to take out, a kitchen to clean up, and laundry that I should take care of.

But, instead I'm going to look at a sketch book and plan some cards and journals. This, too shall pass.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stair-step card

I usually (try to) keep my blogs totally separate, but I'm so excited about this project that I had to come and share here, too.

http://scrap-happychick.blogspot.com/2010/12/stair-step-card.html is the link where I'll post my directions later.

I saw a card on another blog that I really, really wanted to make. I didn't have the same cartridge that was used in the inspiration card, but I made some adjustments and came up with my own version of it. She used carolers in her scene and I switched to snowmen.

The inspiration card can be found here at Scrapbookpal.com:


Here is my version of it:


I take crooked pictures. Oops... Sorry. I'm a little off-center.

Here it is from the side:



I think I might need more snow on the roof tops. The color is not as true as the card really looks. Oh well.

What do you think?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Activities

Today was busier than I had originally planned. Got up, took the dog for her monthly beauty appointment, took Keith to work, went to the car dealership to pick up my garage door opener (that I left in the loaner), went to a scrapbook store to get a few items I needed for some orders (and ended up making a totally cute "ornament" make-and-take), headed back to work to leave Keith my car and stayed to watch Isaiah at our Toys for Tots "carnival" (to raise money for the local chapter). Then, I left with Amy and Isaiah and went to lunch (she bought - Chipotle's), Toys r Us so Isaiah could show us "exactly" what he wanted for Christmas, and then the mall so she could pick up her wedding ring that she's sent off for repairs and to pick up some items from Bath and Body Works that she had a coupon for. Next, we went to Kohl's because someone had outgrown his winter coat. We ran into Faith, our 15 year old granddaughter, and her mom. She wanted to come over tonight to work on her journals for her friends' Christmas presents, so I said to come on over. Isaiah wanted to spend the night anyway so I probably wasn't going to get much done for my stuff.

So, instead of working on my Christmas cards tonight, I helped Faith and one of her friends make journals and cards for friends. I was really pleased with how well they came out. They picked the papers and I did most of the gluing. My Scotch tape runner was being very difficult. I didn't get any pictures of the cards but here are the journals "they" made:








This last one I did for an order at work:


All in all, it was a very good day.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Well... I think rehab was a bust

Insurance approved five days, and that's what he got. He did manage to wear his leg for parts of the day and actually walked with it. But the walking caused his LEFT leg to give him more problems so even standing now to transfer hurts worse than it did before he went in.

So much for the five weekly injections he got over the last six weeks. Yay...

I asked him what hurt the worst - his right leg where the prosthesis rubs or his left knee. He said both. That just really makes it hard for him to even move from his chair to the bed or anywhere else. But I do think that he's more open to trying to maintain his upper body strength.

His new normal seems like it's here to stay.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Up Attitude

I've been absent for a few days - not because I didn't have anything to say (go figure there) but just because I've been busy going to the rehab center and working odd hours since Keith is still sans vehicle. My vehicle was in the shop two days and that didn't help.

The "Big Guy" has had a few subtle - and a few not-so-subtle - messages for me the past few days. I've tried to jot them all down but I may have missed a few.

First thing I noticed was a post on FB by my son-in-law's sister-in-law (that's a mouthful!). She has an application called "God wants you to know..." and the message from the other day sounded like it was directed to me. It said "On this day, God wants you to know that there are no accidents. What you think of as accidents are simply your conversations with God that you haven't yet been able to understand. But take heart, all happens in God's will and every conversation has deep meaning for you."

The next message I saw was this Bible verse from another friend: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13

Next, this statement from yet another friend's page: God's hands are full of goodness, His heart is full of grace, His arms, outstretched with mercy, as I kneel to seek his face. His wonders, never ceasing, His love is ever true, how thankful to be his child, each day, He forgives anew.

Finally, another friend (who frequently sends out the results of her Bible study) sent this to a bunch of us:

Got somethin to share with ya'll...somethin my pastor was preachin about yesterday, and it kinda hit me. It was about "Coveting". Now, I've known this word 'covet' all my life. It was just kinda one of them pretty little words that didn't really mean much to me cuz I don't covet stuff, so I'll just not pay attention to that one. Hmm.....really?? Think it don't apply to you neither? Read on. "Covet" won't sound so pretty after you read this. Oh and, by the way, have you ever noticed a correlation between coveting, jealousy, and greed? Yeah. Me neither, til now. Okay, so here's how the message went thru my brain:

Have you noticed how we're always wantin more? On a personal note, I like to watch the HGTV channel, that show called House Hunters. I love that show!! Along comes a couple lookin for a home. The realtor shows them 3 choices. But what I've noticed is these GORGEOUS homes that are just amazingly perfect. And almost immediately the couple starts nit-pickin it...."I don't like that counter top. I want granite, not formica." "Clearly, the stove and fridge need updating, cuz these are outdated." And so on and so on. On and on it goes, on how this or that needs updating. And the whole time I'm thinkin "I'll take it and you won't hear a peep outta me! It's gorgeous! Why, that stove can't be but 6 months old!! Why update stuff that's still functional and gorgeous? If it was wiring or plumbing, yeah! But these things??? Puh-lease!"

So....Pastor's message was about why do we always gotta have whatever's new or updated or 'better' or whatever? Why is it we're never satisfied with what we have? Well, Proverbs 21:26 says: 'All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.' Ouch! That one kinda hurt, didn't it? Well, if that one stings just a bit, let me add 1 Timothy 6:6-9---"(6) But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (8) But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (9) Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." Now, that's what I call an "ouch, hallelujah". tee hee

Imagine, if you will, 3 men standin together: Their names are Jake, Kyle, and Mike. Let's say Jake is about 6'7" and Kyle is almost the same, maybe a bit smaller but not much. And they both are broad in the shoulders, like linebackers, seriously HUGE guys. And Mike...well, he's about 5'7" and weighs in at about 180 or so. Now, picture Jake and Kyle (the 2 really huge guys) standin, facing each other. And little ol' Mike, well, he's standin behind the biggest guy, Jake. Jake's so big that you can't even see Mike! You don't even know he's there! Kyle knows he's there and he's tryin to reach for him but he can't get around Jake. Got that mental pic in your head?? Ok.

Now, here comes the question(s)---How many of you have a "Jake" between you and God? What are you puttin between you and God, to where He can't reach you? Are you wantin more 'stuff' instead of more God? Are you more interested in gettin more money and leavin God along the roadside? And if you're prayin and not hearin back from God, could it be you've got a "Jake" stoppin the communication flow? What are you doin to block God? To disgust Him? Think about it.

And here's the answer---Psalms 84:11--"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." If you let God have it all and quit worryin about your 'stuff' or money, then you can have it all and then some! If you'd quit puttin your 'stuff' before God, and start makin HIM your focal point, you'd be alot further down the road. What...you think it's a scam and/or He won't deliver? *AHEM!!!* Stick with the group here, honey. Re-read that last verse in Psalms. Note the part "...NO GOOD THING DOES HE WITHHOLD..." Focus on HIM. Just Him. Nothin else. And when you do that, next thing ya know, you'll look around and your life will be sooooooooo amazingly awesome and filled with good things, that you'll wanna kick yourself for not seein it before!

I also have the God wants you to know app on my FB and yesterday, I got this message:
"On this day of your life, Teresa, we believe God wants you to know... that all is well. All is going according to plan. Trust that there is a bigger picture. Trust that life is unfolding as it should."

So, even though it may appear that I have been less than grateful for things, I'm really not. I was just focusing more on the negatives than on the positives. I'm sure there are those who have judged (can't think of a good word here - don't mean "judge" badly) my actions and writing harshly. That's OK - I've been pretty harsh with myself, too. There is so much more behind what I've written that I haven't posted - to do so would leave some jaws dropped wide open and leave others still in a state of shock. There are some things that are better left unsaid. Forgive and move on - right? Right!

I have experienced extreme situations in my life, so I truly know what it is to do without. I know what it's like to...
  • Go to bed hungry.
  • Put my children to bed hungry. (that was a painful one)
  • Not spend $0.25 on coffee on Monday because I might need bread on Friday.
  • Wear my hosiery with a dress until I got a "run" and then wear them with pants until there was nothing left of them.
  • Eat one meal every other day so my children would have food.
  • Not be able to (truly) buy a thing for my children for their birthdays or for Christmas (without the generosity of others). This included food on more than one occasion.
  • Be ostracized at work because I couldn't go out to eat for lunch every day, didn't wear nice clothes, and didn't have anything "interesting" to talk about except my children - and they really didn't want to hear about my children (this was actually told to me by a co-worker at Waddell & Reed when I worked there as an accounting assistant in 1983).
  • Not have a reliable vehicle and to scrape the inside of the window in the winter because the defroster didn't work well (and that was on a good day) - and in the summer, to not have air conditioning.
  • Not be able to ever take my kids to places like the movies or to McDonald's so they'd have some form of entertainment.
  • To live in low-income housing.
So, when I write things that seem to be selfishly motivated - it's not that I'm being totally "selfish" but I am forgetting to be FIRST thankful for what I have and for what I have come through. I fail with that (obviously; you all have read some of my failures) but I do try very hard to think of others first and to put their needs before my own. Even during the whole time I was going through the things that I did (before I met/married Ron), I didn't complain about "my" situation as much as the situation my children were in.

I'm working on getting dug out from the hole I'm in. There are a lot of details and things going on but I'll get there. I did stay totally within my budget for Christmas shopping and even managed to pick up an item for Keith that I know he needs (nothing frivolous - Keith forget your read this part) and I have something that I'm getting for Amy that I know she can use and it's less than $20. I bought Ron three shirts at 60% off (he didn't have long-sleeved shirts for the winter) and bought him the first season of The Sopranos on DVD off eBay. I needed some shower gel and since Bath & Body Works had a "buy 3; get 3 free" I was able to get a shower gel for each of the three teenage granddaughters. It's not much, but it shows them that I am thinking of them. I'm making each of them a covered journal, too. Bath & Body Works also had a special purchase item, so I bought it and have divided it up among my daughter-in-law, son, and the lotion from it for me (I needed lotion). We have a teenage grandson (who may get the "manly" scent shower gel from the special purchase item) and a 9 year old grandson who may get a $10 gift card. For my other step-children - I'm not sure what I'll do. One is married, one is divorced, and one still lives with his mother. We never see the divorced one (or his 9 year old son) so it's really hard to figure out something.

In all, it will be a good Christmas no matter what happens. Ron and I will be spending it alone and I have accepted that is how it will be. I don't have to like it - but I can live with it. I am still upset that I can't go see Shaun, Jenny, and the kids but I will get over it. It will just make me appreciate seeing them that much more when I'm able to. It's hard, especially since I know that I "could" have gone if... Can't dwell on that even though it is one area that I'm having a really hard time forgiving someone for.

God Bless you all. I thank you for your friendship and for your prayers!

Teresa...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

Amy and I left here Thursday night to head for Toys R Us (which opened at 10:00 PM). We got there about 9:40 and the place was already packed with a line nearly the entire length of the shopping center. We were closer up than last year, but we were still in line about 90 minutes before I decided that I needed a bathroom break. I had to go to the front of the line (left my purse with Amy so it wouldn’t look like I was trying to crowd) and asked the manager if I could go in to use the facilities. That was 100% true but also gave me a chance to scope the place out. After my report, we left. We figured we were still 30 minutes away from being inside and could get what we wanted (Zhu Zhu pets) at Wal-Mart. We left to head for the warmth of Wal-Mart for their midnight sale and got there about 11:30 after stopping for coffee.


The longest part in WM was the checkout line. They had actually let people go to the areas where the midnight items were located and let us start shopping about 10 minutes early. We didn't get too much there but the lines were terrible. I think we stood in line for well over an hour.

Our best experience was at Kohl's. We got there 1:30-ish (they opened at 3:00). We were some of the first in - we shopped and were back in the car by 3:37. I loved the management at Kohl's. They were serious about no line jumping, pushing, shoving, or otherwise being an A**. Said they'd throw out anyone who wasn't playing nice. As 3:00 approached, a group of people started to congregate like they were going to head to the door. The "Lead Loss Manager" (his words) came out and very firmly said, "If you haven't been in line, and you're not currently in line, you are not coming in unless you go to the END of the line." Some people were ticked (not those of us who had braved the weather). One lady said in Amy's general direction that it wasn't that big of a deal for them to just come on in. True - for her maybe but it was to the ones who'd been there for hours.

Next up was JC Penney’s. They had opened the doors before 4:00 AM so we were able to get what we wanted/needed pretty quickly. I snagged 3 shirts for Ron (his favorite style, but in long-sleeved form to help keep him warmer in the house) at 60% off, which was a great deal on them. Headed to Victoria’s Secret for Amy to pick up some things, then on to Bath & Body Works (needed some shower gel). After that we picked up a pretzel and a drink and went back to Toys R Us. We got right in but there wasn’t anything we really wanted to buy from there, so we left.

Next up, Bed Bath & Beyond because they had advertised a laptop tray table that I thought would be great for Ron. It was cheesy. If it had been $9.99 I might have gotten it, but not at $29.99. Seriously cheap plastic. So we left there and went next door to Ultimate Electronics. We needed a new all-in-one printer and I found a great deal on one but will be returning it and just making do with what I’ve got.

I got home and in bed about 6:30. Poor Amy had to drive back home so I’m sure she didn’t get to bed much before 8:00. I was so tired that I ended up napping off and on all day. I had a great time even though I didn’t buy that much. I really enjoy the crowds and the fun of trying to find a good deal. I gave up a couple because it was too much hassle to try and get to them. No loss…

The funniest thing was at Wal-Mart. I saw this man in line and thought that he looked vaguely familiar. I’m great with faces but terrible at remembering names. Somehow we ended up in line behind them and as the wife turned around to talk to me, it dawned on me how I knew them. I said, “We were in line behind you last year – right over by the cold food section!" She laughed and said, “And we didn’t learn our lesson because here we are again! If I see you next year right here I’ll know there’s no hope for us.” It was so funny.

No, I'm really not crazy...

Or suicidal... Or thinking of doing anything illegal.

But, I decided that I am worth more dead than alive.

(bet that got your attention)

This post is really completely different than my normal stuff. Please don't think that I'm "fishing" for anything at all. If you are speechless with shock - sorry... If you are speechless with anger - again, sorry... If you want to wring my neck - OK, but you've got to come here and catch me first. I'm not depressed, I'm not angry, I'm not anything. I'm a bit melancholy over how things are going but I can't say that it's a case of depression.

I am a very selfish person (surprise, surprise! I've hidden this quite well from everyone, including myself). I'm trying to figure out how to buy my grandkids Christmas presents (just the little ones; the big ones understand $$ and the facts of life but the little ones do not) and I had a very strict budget for the 4 kids. I did stay within my budget (within $20 which covered the sales tax on things and I'm happy with that). I bought Ron three shirts for winter (he needed them and they were 60% off regular price). But, I spent $30 on me that I didn't need to spend (never fear; reality has set in and the item is going back this week). I think I was just caught up in the moment and saw them (a really cute pair of boots - brown, not too high of a heel, and they just caught my eye) and tried them on. Big mistake. They fit,  I could not only stand up but I could also walk (that's always a plus when you only have one balance nerve). So I gave in to myself and bought them. I had buyer's remorse almost immediately but the line was long so I decided I'd take them back today.

Except my battery died (at least, we think - and hope - it's only my battery) in Amy's driveway last night. They loaned me her car to get back home and Rex is going to take a look at my car today and (if needed) put a new battery in. Otherwise, I don't know what it could be unless it's the alternator. That would just not be good.

Ron goes to rehab tomorrow. I can't haul his wheelchair without my car since it travels on the back. I don't want to drive Amy's car any more than necessary (I am putting gas in it, but Rex is going to pay for my battery - more than generous of him). I will be near the mall this week so can return the shoes then.

I also need to return the printer I bought "us" on Friday. Yes, we do need a printer but we don't NEED a printer. The one we have prints but has some issues. I should have just decided that we could live with what we've got and never gone into the store. But I did. And I bought it. So I'll return it this week, too.

Back to my original comment. I am worth more dead than I am alive. In life insurance that is. I have enough life insurance on me to pay off our house, our car, our consumer debt, and my student loans but only if I died before 1/1/11. After then, there's not enough to pay everything off. As it stands right now, we're having some financial problems. Serious financial problems. Things just sort of snowballed after my "vacation" this past summer. I should have just said I couldn't go. But, selfishly, I wanted to. I knew I'd never have an opportunity like that again and I didn't want to pass it up. I put back and saved until there was enough to pay for the trip and if I had know what else was coming down the pike, I probably would have not gone.

I can tell myself all day long that I did it for Isaiah's sake, but it was really because "I" wanted it. I have a lot of trouble with "I" and "me" these days. Maybe I've had trouble with them all along and I'm just now admitting it.

I had a long talk with God the other day and told Him that I had come to the conclusion that I was worth more dead than alive. I laid out the reasons... If I died, then Ron would have a place to live without worrying about where he was going and if it would be wheelchair accessible. Moving for me isn't an issue - this house is just four walls and a roof as far as I'm concerned. For him, it's a big issue. Bathroom access in most homes is non-existent for wheelchairs. This house has plenty of room for his wheelchair to sit beside the bed at night and by his chair during the day. He can get into the bathroom and turn around to get back out. We have a wheelchair ramp in the garage. If we had to move, how would I replace that?

If I died, all of our bills would be taken care of and his social security disability check would take care of his living expenses. The kids could hire someone to come in and help him with his living activities, or Aaron (his other son) could move into the upstairs spare bedroom and be here to take Ron to his doctors appointments.

If I died, Ron wouldn't have to worry about being homeless or having to move to someplace that his wheelchair wouldn't fit.

I said that I was OK with it. I'd rather wait until after Christmas so the holidays aren't marred but if He didn't wait until then, I couldn't really complain since it was my suggestion.

So, selfishly I have to say that I'm struggling with my decision. I bet it was really hard for Christ to lay down His life for us but He did it anyway. Because He loved us unconditionally. I'm not saying that I'm anywhere near that because I know that I'm not. I'd rather stick around and watch my grandkids grow up, enjoy the company of those I love - my family and my friends - and experience all that life has to offer. But I know that for Ron to have what he needs, there must be sacrifices made. Our situation is more my fault than anyone else's (my selfishness again - too much to go into detail; just trust me that most of this is my fault) so I need to be the one to pay the price for it. No one else.

My kids are worried. Amy said I couldn't pray to God to take me because she wasn't fine with it. Keith said he's going to start paying more into the household because he wasn't fine with it either. Amy and Rex said if we needed to sell our house that we'd never be homeless. That is always nice to know. I'm very proud of my children and thankful for them.

I said it was nice to know that I had more 'value' to them than the monetary worth of my life insurance. I promised that I wouldn't ask God to take me and that I would pray for a better answer instead.

So, I'm praying for miracles instead. Ron goes to rehab tomorrow for one week (actually, insurance approved five business days so he could come home on Friday unless they extend it). Keith's car is still in the shop so we'll go to work at 8:00 and then I'll go to visit Ron and pick Keith up after he gets off. It will make a long day for each of us, but that is life in the fast lane.

Right???

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 11: Another picture of me and my friends

This will be tough... I'm not sure any other picture exist of me with any of my friends. I'll look...

Looking....

Looking....

Looking...

{sigh} Still looking...


I found one. I had to "steal" it from a friend's Facebook page.

I'm in the back row. Can you find me?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 10 - Songs I listen to when ...

I have a variety of music on my iPod and on my computer. I have a mix of Christian and worship music that I listen to when I need a spiritual lift or when I feel like I'm being a whiner. I listen to a mix of The Oak Ridge Boys, Andre Bocelli, Amy Winehouse (not much of hers, but I like a few things), Shakira, Barry Manilow, Brooks & Dunn, The Carpenters, Alison Krauss, and others. Josh Groban, Celine, Neil Diamond, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, and Carole King.  I always put my music on shuffle so I can hear a variety. If I'm down in the dumps, it's always worship music. Reminder's of God's love and grace never ceases to raise my spirits.

I also have a couple of Connie Talbot songs on my iPod I got for Isaiah (and me) to listen to. I have a lot of Christmas music that I listen to all year. I just ordered O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho. Love to hear Celine's duet with Andre Bocelli - and she does the same song with Josh Groban (The Prayer). It's a beautiful song.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Parkinson's Evaluation

We had the big evaluation yesterday and I think it went very well. The occupational therapist said that she believed he needed (and would benefit from) therapy. They can't really do much with his sensory perception, but she said they can provide assistance in finding ways to help him function.

The physical therapist said she believed that he would benefit from in-patient care at least for a week or two, and then continue on a three times per week as an outpatient.

Now we just have to wait and see what insurance determines.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Card selected for "card of the week" contest

Scrapbooks etc magazine also has a web site where you can upload some of your creations. I didn't know they were running a contest until I got an email today that said one of my cards had been selected for this week's "card of the week" contest. The winner gets $100.

Voting ends on 11/21 and if you like the card, I'd appreciate it if you'd vote for it...

http://photos.scrapbooksetc.com/category/vote/photo/588637


Thanks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Having one of "those" BLAH days...

It must be in the air. I have lots to be thankful for (and I am) but today is just one of those days that has given me the "blu-hooeys" (I know, that's not a word...).

I took the day off. I'm not sick but I did have some personal business to take care of that really couldn't be done at work. I've only done part of it. Just can't get myself motivated to do the things I need to do. I need a Fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand and put my house in order - while she's at it, she can put my life in order!

I did manage to organize enough of the pantry to get the groceries in there, but don't try too hard to find a bowl or anything like that. You might end up with everything crashing down on your head.

I got my "paid for auction" package sent off, paid our water bill, put gas in my car, and went to the scrapbook store to pick up some ribbon I needed. I forgot to go buy ink for my printer, which is out of two colors and won't even let me print in black. Bummer... I'll go back out later.

I'm going to go work on Christmas cards and see if that improves my mood. I'll just not look at the stuff I should be doing instead. It will still be there tomorrow 'cause I think that "I'm" the Fairy Godmother around here.

Ya'll have a great day...

Day 09: Something you're proud of in the past few days

Taking pride in myself or the things I do is a very hard thing for me to do. I can’t say that I’ve not had pride in things, but it’s not very often.

LOL – does that make me totally boring or just a very unremarkable person?

I could be proud that I haven’t lost my cool at anyone, even though they may have deserved something more than they got.

Or… I didn’t eat ALL of the left over M&Ms

…I went to the grocery store

...I cleaned the toilet without complaining (too much)

...I gave Ron a haircut right when he asked instead of putting it off until later

...I made a really nice covered journal for someone at work for her birthday



(I'm working on another one for her that she's buying for her daughter's fiance'. It is 'faux leather' - technique I learned to do - and is turning out quite nice. Here is a preliminary picture of it - although it's not finished.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 08 - Short-term goals for this month and why

I have very few...

go to the grocery store - because we like to eat and the pantry is getting very nekkid
work on Christmas cards - because I have two orders for 4 cards each
finish a couple of birthday cards - because I have an order for them

post a few things for sale on Craigslist - because they are taking up space and I need to sell them. I have a beautiful set of "vintage-style" brass cherub lamps.


I'm going to ask $75 for the pair. They're heavy and very much worth it. We've had them since 1996. The brass isn't the same exact color but I think that adds to their charm.

I have quite a few things for sale on eBay (you can search for soapymom2) and have even more things to put on Craigslist. Would like to sell our Christmas tree (no room for it and a wheelchair - wheelchair wins) and I'll get a small table-top one for in the dining room.


It's pre-lit and stand 7.5 feet tall.

I think that's about it for short-term goals for the rest of the month.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

I have four "someones" who have made the biggest impact on me... My grandchildren. To see the continuation of family lines, heritage, and traits rolled into these special little children has been delightful.

Isaiah - His 2nd Easter, the summer before he came to live with us


Alexander - at my mom's house in January 2009


Kaitlyn - showing off her new baby brother


Zachary - the latest addition to the clan

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 06- Favorite super hero and why

This is a tough one. I've actually avoided this day because I don't think I can find a super hero that would be my favorite.

What constitutes 'super' hero status anyway? Wonder Woman ranks up there. Loved those bracelets she could deflect bullets with. Every girl needs a set of those.

Wonder-Woman-w04.jpg
Photo copyright 2005 Warner Bros. Entertainment
Of course, she's got another kind of "set" that I wouldn't have minded having... hmmm - better get back to the subject. But, she does have a great looking set of legs. Right?

Another super hero is The Bionic Woman. Why??? Because (being deaf in my right ear) I'd like to have her capability to hear a whisper a mile away. I seriously wouldn't want to be able to do that, but to hear again out of that ear would be nice. If I could hear, my balance might not be crap and I might not put as many bruises on my poor legs and arms.

Now, I also wanted to be Agent 99, the much smarter half of the Get Smart sleuths. She was always so nice to Max and never let him know that she saved his butt on more than one occasion.


That was really true love and dedication.

But, my truly most favorite super hero is my mother. She worked outside the home and managed to raise seven kids (of course, my dad contributed to that too) who are all educated and contributing members of society. She demonstrated what true love was, and is, and what "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" meant. She nursed my dad and was his constant companion through many illnesses and still misses him, five years after his death.

Mom and Dad with Isaiah the summer after his 1st birthday

Isaiah wanting Grandpa's glasses case put in "his" pocket - except he didn't have a pocket.

I know that my mom really misses my dad and is counting the days until she sees him again. Isaiah was the first of the great-grandkids and the only one that my dad got to see.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Veteran's Day

I have been extremely blessed to have been an active part in my children's lives and to have been able to experience a small portion of military life with them. I'm also extremely blessed that they have returned from each deployment, safe and sound. Amy only went on one deployment during her time in the Navy (she had shore duty for awhile, then was pregnant with Isaiah so back to shore duty, and then was discharged right before her next ship left for deployment) and I got to return to San Diego on her ship (the USS Boxer; September 2001). She was also stationed on the USS Kearsarge and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (both located in Norfolk, VA).

Shaun has been on several deployments and I've been very fortunate to be able to be on the dock as his ship has pulled back in. His first deployment was on the USS Harry S Truman, stationed in Norfolk, VA, on its maiden deployment. It was quite the party when the ship returned to port in May 2001. I also watched the Truman return from deployment in May 2003 and again in 2005. Shaun then spent some time on shore duty in San Diego before transferring to Bremerton, WA. He is currently stationed aboard the USS John C Stennis and I've been on the dock to witness its return in July 2009.

The picture above was taken in two shots. Shaun was home on  leave in October 1999 and I knew Amy would be home in November 1999 (right after she finished basic training and her A School). I had Shaun stand on one side and then had Amy on the other. I merged the two photos later and did pretty well with the merge. I think I'm the only one who knows where the curtains really come together. (The next time they were home on leave together they didn't have uniforms with them.)

USS Truman return - May 2001



Shaun was actually standing in the "7" of the 75 and when I did his scrapbook, I was able to pop him out of it and make it so that he was actually noticeable.

USS Boxer Tiger Cruise - September 2001

Since Amy was stationed San Diego, the last stop on the way home was Hawaii. I got to fly to Hawaii and float back to San Diego on her ship, the USS Boxer. It was an amazing trip and we were all having a great time - right up until September 11. We were three days out of San Diego and the mood of the entire ship changed. I wrote about my trip and that day here. Here are some more pictures from that trip.

Amy in her dress whites as we were nearing San Diego

My "rack" (sleeping quarters) where I could turn on my fan, shut my curtains, and read a book, or two - or 10. I read about 10 books during the eight days on the ship.

Refueling of the Boxer and Harper's Ferry

The USS Boxer
The Navy put on a pretty spectacular air show for us, too.



Truman Homecoming May 2003

Isaiah was just a new baby when the Truman came back from deployment in 2003. Amy's (then) husband was also stationed on the Truman so, after spending her maternity leave at our house, we drove back to Norfolk for the ship's return. It was a very cold, rainy and windy day so I don't have many pictures. We were in the "new mothers" tent for most of the preliminary stuff and I'd pop out every so often to snap a picture.




Truman Family Day 2003

Keith and I were able to fly back to Norfolk in July 2003 for the Truman's Family Day Cruise. We boarded the ship by 6:00 AM and spent the entire day at sea. During the cruise, they Navy had several activities planned for us, including an amazing air show. Being an aircraft carrier made it easier for them to show off than just being an LHD.





After the air show, we enjoyed snacks and got to tour limited areas of the ship. They also brought in a hypnotist and had several people on the stage do some pretty funny stuff.




Shaun joined the Navy in August 1998 and Amy joined in August 1999. They actually had their "anniversary" dates within one day of each other, and their graduation ceremonies in the same time frame (Shaun Oct 98, Amy Oct 99).


These are a couple of pages out of Shaun's Navy scrapbook that I made for him after his first deployment and enlistment.

Truman Homecoming 2005

I flew to Norfolk by myself for this return and then Shaun and I drove back home in his vehicle.




John C Stennis Homecoming 2009



Thank you to all of our veterans. Thank you to my children for their service.